According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 598,000 unemployed U.S. workers in January 2009, spiking job loss since the recession began in December 2007 to 3.6 million. Unemployed in August 2008, Kelly Mitchell, a financial analyst in prime brokerage sales and hedge fund consulting, expected to remain in finance. "I was exposed to all areas of hedge funds," she says, "and had done a lot of hedge fund business consulting.
In order to achieve true career security in today's tough times, we must re-imagine ourselves as "career athletes." We must see ourselves as a new breed of worker-champion. Our model is not that of the athletes engaged in professional sports, but rather, the athletes who are most like us. Worker-champions are the workplace version of Olympians, at least Olympians as they were originally envisioned. These champions are not amateurs; they are athletic activists.
Q: A recent layoff put me in a job search mode again. The last time I looked for a new position , it was really hard to maintain my motivation. Do you have any tips on what I can do to stay positive and productive? –Heather, Jefferson City, Mo.
Trying to find a job by calling people you don't know and asking them for help probably sounds dreadful, like a cross between telemarketing and door-to-door sales. After all, nobody likes rejection, and this job-search strategy is sure to provoke a rash of apologies and unreturned phone calls.
When Wendell Hall was asked to relocate for the 13 th time in 31 years, he realized how demanding and unfulfilling his corporate life had become. As a vice president of operations for General Motors Acceptance Corp., he oversaw lending activities among GM dealers throughout the Western U.S. The job required lots of travel and, at age 55, another transfer, this time from northern New Jersey to Detroit. "I wasn't willing to do that again, so I left," he says.
Giving up a profitable psychology practice in midtown Manhattan to play music full time may sound crazy. But for Lucy Kaplansky, traveling the country with guitar in hand is just what the doctor ordered. "I was in therapy when I had a life-altering revelation," says Dr. Kaplansky, 46, who spent much of her youth playing folk music to rave reviews. "I was explaining why I didn't want to become a professional musician, spending so many days on the road, when I realized I was lying to myself.